The following is a message from Suzanne:
Today is a great day to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQIA community here in Pierce County, and to recognize we still have a lot of work to do.
Many children growing up do not feel like they fit societal roles and do not have anyone to safely discuss these concerns with. The effects of feeling like an outsider include increasing self-doubt, isolation, acting out in school and/ or at home, self-medicating through alcohol and/ or drugs, and self-harm. Bullying of LGBTQIA youth is a major contributing factor. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website stopbullying.gov, “lesbian, gay or bisexual youth are more than twice as likely as their peers to be depressed and think about or attempt suicide (Russell & Joyner, 2001).” Per the National Center for Transgender Equality:
“Transgender and gender non-conforming youth face challenges at home, at school, in foster care, and in juvenile justice systems. A national survey by GLSEN has found that 75% of transgender youth feel unsafe at school, and those who are able to persevere had significantly lower GPAs, were more likely to miss school out of concern for their safety, and were less likely to plan on continuing their education.”
While the U.S, has made significant strides in equal rights for the LGBTQIA, rights are under attack at the Federal level. Our community’s health. Our community’s right to adopt or foster children. Housing, immigration, bathroom access, employment, and more. That’s why it’s even more important than ever to take a stand at the local level and assure our community we will stand up for each other. We will support each other. And we will make sure our government officials represent us.
What can we do today? We can begin to work on dismantling our own biases. Within the community, we must work to fight racism, ableism, classism, bi-erasure, misogyny, transphobia, harassment, and domestic violence. We must stand up against the federal government’s zero-tolerance immigration policy as deportations can be death sentences. We can provide a non-judgmental ear and direct individuals to the right resources. We can contact sitting government officials and hold them accountable. And we must vote to elect representatives who have proven their dedication to protecting our community’s rights. I would be honored to have your vote, and will continue to fight for equality and equity. I hope to see you today at Pride.
— Suzanne Skaar
Candidate for Pierce County Council District 5